Saturday, September 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

John Wayne patriotism a contrived ideal

By
From page A8 | June 02, 2014 |

A large man stepped into the lobby of the Holiday Inn, a crowd immediately surrounding him. Standing barely above John Wayne’s waist, being only 10 years old, I fought to obtain one of the autograph cards Duke was handing out as a diversion, while trying to weave his way through the throng of adoring humanity.

This was the most exciting event I had ever experienced in my hometown. Wayne’s movie “The Hellfighters” was being filmed below the red buttes at Bessemer Bend, just outside of town.

Wayne is seen as an iconic patriot, a prototypical gung-ho soldier, an American ideal, the embodiment of Texas, and the Old West cowboy come to life. There is, however, another classic movie star who better epitomizes American patriotism than Wayne – Jimmy Stewart.

The difference between Wayne and Stewart is the difference between image and reality. John Wayne had a great film persona; but his real life bore little resemblance to the Hollywood legend.

Duke’s real name was Marion Morrison, not very cowboy or masculine. He was not from Texas, Wyoming or the Wild West, but was born in Iowa and raised in Los Angeles. John Wayne did not grow up on a ranch, like Montanan Gary Cooper, but was a pharmacist’s son.

Duke portrayed rugged, self-made pioneers, but in real life attended the University of Southern California and enjoyed body-surfing.

Wayne often played tough-as-nails military men, but did everything possible to avoid service during World War II.

His mentor, director John Ford, enlisted early in the war even though he was nearly 40. Ford urged the actor to join him in uniform. Duke refused, saying he needed to make “just one more film.” John Wayne never served.

Wayne’s movie wife was frequently played by all-American Maureen O’Hara; but his three real-life wives were not U.S. citizens at the time of their marriages. When his third marriage was on the rocks, Wayne spent the last years of his life with his secretary, who was 34 years younger – not exactly a “family values” example.

Wayne’s height was likely accentuated by lifts in his boots. Even his signature walk does not seem original, but invented with the help of Ford early in Wayne’s career.

James Maitland Stewart was his real name, a descendent of Revolutionary and Civil War veterans. Jimmy was not impressive physically, but wiry, like a real cowboy.

When World War II began, Stewart was the first Hollywood star to enlist. He did not want to serve stateside, safe from harm, but volunteered for combat, flying more than 20 bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.

Between 1941 and 1945, Jimmy Stewart did not make a Hollywood film because of his service, costing him millions of dollars. Wayne made 18 films during the war, including “Back to Bataan,” “The Fighting Seabees” and “Flying Tigers.” While Duke played soldiers in the movies, Stewart was risking his life in battle.

Returning from the war, Hollywood studios were eager to cast Stewart in military roles. Jimmy refused, not wanting to capitalize on his service. Jimmy Stewart remained in the Air Force Reserves for decades, eventually reaching the rank of general, a man of faith who did his duty without complaint or fanfare.

Jimmy only had one wife, remaining married to his sweetheart Gloria until her death. A staunch conservative politically, he was best friends with committed liberal Henry Fonda. Stewart accepted, liked and respected people, even those with whom he did not agree.

I have John Wayne’s autograph, but it is “The Man from Laramie” who carried a “Winchester ‘73,” demonstrating “How the West Was Won,” and showing us that “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Jimmy Stewart, who better embodies American patriotism.

Whether liberals or conservatives, people of faith or atheists, politicians and common citizens, all of us would do well to follow Stewart’s example, focusing upon our actions instead of the image we project.

Posturing is easy, but true patriotism is shown by putting our lives on the line, doing those things that help our nation and our fellow Americans.

With Memorial Day behind us, and Flag Day and the Fourth of July to come, I say, rest in peace, Patriot Jimmy; and thanks from a grateful nation, to all who have selflessly served.

The Rev. Daniel Molyneux is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fairfield. Reach him by email at drcowboy@gmail.com.

The Rev. Dan Molyneux

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 9 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • PornacJune 02, 2014 - 8:01 am

    Maybe so, but the Duke had a bigger gun!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • John AndersonJune 02, 2014 - 10:51 am

    Watch "The man who shot Liberty Valence" Best scent ever with Duke, Stewart and Lee Marvin...in the restaurant: "Pick it up, Valence"! Wow!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickJune 02, 2014 - 4:46 pm

    very good article REV. DAN usual reply from a few people. big difference between REAL heroes and Hollywood actors. CHECK OUT lee Marvin and a half dozen more who left Hollywood and enlisted for WW 2

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mike kirchubelJune 02, 2014 - 6:41 pm

    There seems to be a lot of that fake patriot stuff going around lately.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 2realJune 02, 2014 - 7:41 pm

    Americans? Patriots? Theres still those around?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 03, 2014 - 4:52 am

    Yes, like Warren Buffet when he said he should pay more taxes.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 03, 2014 - 4:58 am

    Or how about Brooksley Born, "the Cassandra of the derivatives crisis," who took on Wall Street and the Washington bully boys and lost her job when she was right and they were wrong.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mike kirchubelJune 03, 2014 - 8:42 am

    The wall street bankers were not wrong. They made hundreds of billions of dollars both before their "crash" from the mortgages and derivitives and after, from the taxpayers. If you 'd read a certain book, you would see that this is what the big boys do, time after time after time after time after time after time. Always with the same results. It's just a business plan to soak the taxpayers and eliminate the competition. I may have left out an "after time" or two.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickJune 03, 2014 - 11:44 am

    I thought this was about hollywood

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Solano jobless rate drops, jobs rise

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
 
Memorial focuses on hope, healing from addiction

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Vacaville High graduate shines at tech event

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
New law aimed at urban water district reports

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Travis celebrates KC-10′s 20 years at base

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Highway 37 detours in place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Maintenance begins on Rio Vista Bridge Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Mother gives late daughter a voice by helping others

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B8, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
.

US / World

Record-setting retardant used on California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Brown vetoes diaper changing-station bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Oakland mother charged in cocaine death of son, 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

Driver of stolen van that hit dog gets prison time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
License plate scanner networks capture movements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Feds approve California’s immigrant license words

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
California man accused of killing fellow gym-goer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

California school gender equity ruling upheld

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
State to ban smoking at home day cares

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Fence-jumper makes it into the White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
3 guilty in Ga. salmonella-tainted peanut trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Fierce fighting in Yemeni capital kills 120

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Sierra Leone begins 3-day Ebola lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ambush suspect could be aided by dense woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
France joins US against Islamic State over Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

After vote to stay in UK, Scots must heal divide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Florida town knew shooter had troubled past

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Daughter calls Utah doctor a monster at sentencing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

Lots of services available for Solano veterans

By Ted Puntillo | From Page: A8

 
Cheers, jeers for the week of Sept. 14-20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Fairfield Ford boosts animal adoption efforts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
Make sure you get educated during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
.

Entertainment

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

Fallon to pay up, broadcast show in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

Legs power Mustangs in win over Falcons

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A’s Lester holds Phillies to 5 hits in 7 innings in 3-1 victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Big plays in second half lift Vanden past Center

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

After NFL, baseball addresses domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodell: ‘Same mistakes can never be repeated’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kershaw gets 20th win as Dodgers pound Cubs 14-5

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders could be down 2 starters on defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sharks open with new vibe after playoff collapse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers’ Davis, McDonald questionable for Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stewart slogs through tough day at New Hampshire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rio Vista gets easy football win over Delta

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Keselowski wins pole at New Hampshire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon has suspension reduced to 10 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

Pabst Brewing to be sold to Russian company

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
China fines GlaxoSmithKline $492M for bribery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Procter & Gamble cancels on-field NFL promotion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
California adopts olive-oil labeling standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

Yahoo rakes in another jackpot from Alibaba’s IPO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Alibaba stock soars in jubilant trading debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

The Kuro taste: Peppery tang and hint of squid ink

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Charles Randolph Orr

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Corazon Libunao Thompson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Allie M. Zell-Jones

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 09/20/14

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.23 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for Sept. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

New Standard Pacific models in Vacaville

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3